6 tips for overcoming stage fright

The stage can be a formidable place for young and seasoned actors alike, as they step out to perform their art in front of a live audience. Anything can happen. We asked members of the Drama Class of 2017 for their best tips to overcome stage fright and prepare to have a successful performance:

Remember to breathe

“I find a useful tip to get over stage fright to be remembering to breathe and remembering that I love what I do. I find that I subconsciously hold my breath when I am nervous, and remembering to breathe takes care of that problem. I also religiously remind myself that I love what I do. I’ve done my homework, we’ve rehearsed, and all I can do now is trust myself and enjoy the moment, because I’m so lucky to be doing this.” – Kelsey Locke

Kelsey Locke

Kelsey Locke starred opposite Cody Robinson in "After The Fall." / Photo: Peter Mueller

Do it for yourself

“I’ve noticed when I do the play for myself and not for the audience I feel more relaxed. I insult the audience before I walk on stage to help me stop worrying about what they think. I have nothing but gratitude for the audience afterwards, but while I’m performing they may as well not be there!” – Matt Foley 

Matt Foley

Matt Foley took on the role of KJ in "The Aliens." / Photo: Drew Davis

Do it for others

“Remind yourself that the audience is there to support you. I pick one person who is in the audience for each show and choose to do the play for them. Even if I don’t know of someone who I care about coming to the show, I imagine someone. That way, if you do the show for only that person then everyone else’s opinions don’t matter.” – Emily Weider 

Emily Weider

Emily Weider appeared in 2015's "Good." / Photo: Drew Davis

“Screw it!”

“Before I step on stage I always make sure to say this to myself. It reminds me that I am enough and to let go of all the work I’ve done and just let whatever’s going to happen, happen. This always helps get rid of my last-minute jitters and fears.” – Tij D'oyen 

Tij D'oyen

Tij D'oyen brought Sir Fopling to life in "The Man of Mode." / Photo: Peter Mueller


“Really listening to your acting partners helps take your mind off of the audience and your own performance. I found this particularly helpful in keeping me focused in Man of Mode, when Emily Weider and I had nearly every scene together.” – Cameron Morton 

Cameron Morton

Cameron Morton (far right) appeared in Spring 2016's "Pericles." / Photo: Peter Mueller


“Honestly, the best way I overcame stage fright was just being thrown on a stage so many times whether it be in class, rehearsals or performances. It eventually becomes second nature and thrilling. But that took pretty much my entire four years [at UNCSA] to get there. And even so—nerves still happen—but now we’ve learned how to use them in the performances as opposed to letting them hinder us.” – Emily Weider

by Hannah Callaway

March 06, 2017